As part of NEDA I spoke to my dear friend Laura who agreed to share her story about he ED.
Describe your eating disorder and how you think it started?
It started with a "diet" when I was 15, I was obese to start with and lost a lot of weight, eating very little rapidly but because I was large to start with people really did assume it was a diet, or I was losing puppy fat. It took me a couple of years of restricting to varying degrees to realise it was a problem and there were periods of a semi recovery during that. Things really spiralled when I was 17, I experienced other mental health problems and fell in to a spiral of impuslive behaviours, including Bulimia. Two years on for that I after several medical admissions I went in to IP treatment and beat the Bulimia and again, had some kind of semi recovery, went to college and lived a bit. Toward the end of 2009 I was feeling lost and out of control and Anorexia crept in again, at it's worst, I think out of all the years, eventually leading to another IP. But out of all of this, the root cause?! I still don't know.
Were you aware you had a problem?
I think semi aware, because I was eating so much less than my friends and experiencing skewed thought patterns but I was very much in denial, it wasn't until a few years later that I "came clean" both to others and myself.
Do you feel you were given support?
When I asked for it, yes. I've been very fortunate in the support I've had from my family and friends, and for the most part, professionally. It's hit and miss with the NHS and it seems to come in fits and starts, but when it's there the support has been great.
What brought you towards recovery?
Around Christmas 2009 I realised I was literally sitting around waiting to die. The death of a friend from Anorexia that January made me realise how much that would affect my loved ones, and how much I didn't want that. It seemed to ignite some kind of drive in me and eventually I got the help I needed.
Is recovery possible?
I'd like to think so. Personally, I believe I will always have a part of me in the grip of Anorexia, but right now I would also say I'm recovered, I'm eating and functioning, working and living, I just..still have to battle that inner voice 24/7. I know many people who have fully recovered, so all in all, yes it is possible and I don't mean to sound pessimistic.
What do you think would help others battling an Eating Disorder?
Support at the inbetween phase. It seems to be very all or nothing (well, in my area at least), your either at rock bottom and in need of emergency care, or doing something pro-active like CBT. I'm at a stage where neither is right for me (and I've spoken to other people at the same point) and our NHS care is being withdrawn at a time where we need it most to cope with day-to-day life and staying on an even keel.
How do you feel now?
Tentative but hopeful. This is the best it's been for years. Physically I'm healthier than I've been in years and mentally I have come on leaps and bounds and doing things I never thought possible. On the bad days I do feel like this won't work and I can't be better, but 80% of the time I feel hopeful about my future.
Laura is a true inspiration to me and to others and very brave for sharing her story. Thank you for being incredible and strong it goes without saying I love you!
Don't forget you can donate to the cause at beats webpage and if you would like to share your experience please do get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org